George Cremaschi: Nearly Last Breath
Nearly Last Breath (for Birgit Helene Scheib)A train ride in a blizzard. What do you think? You should come. Vienna, so beautiful in winter. Plans for the future, a cruel hope. What do you think? No answer.
Originally a short piece commissioned by the San Francisco contemporary music
ensemble sfSound for an evening of new short works, from the beginning I had the idea of expanding the musical material into a longer piece at some point. However, my original ideas for this Radiocustica work were something completely different. As I worked on them in the fall of 2009, I moved more and more in the direction of Nearly Last Breath, and finally I realized that this was the time for the expanded version, especially since I was planning a trip to California in December, and would be able to record with my friends in sfSound, who this music was originally written for. All of the
music derives from a single simple melody, which I harmonized, and then removed the melody, leaving a series of chords. I then wrote another simple melody from those chords, harmonized that melody with a different set of chords, and removed that melody as well, giving me all of the final musical material. The first electronic section is built from the last chord of the preceding section, with each individual instrument being run through a simple granular synthesis program. The second electronic section was made with two analog oscillators.
With Kyle Bruckmann: oboe; Matt Ingalls: clarinet, bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet;
John Ingle: soprano, alto and baritone saxophones; Matthew Goodheart: piano; and
Kjell Nordeson: percussion.